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What is most important factor in digital audio playback quality?

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What is the most important factor in digital audio playback quality?  

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On 7/11/2019 at 8:43 AM, firedog said:

The most important factors are your room and your speakers.

I agree with your statement if only speaking of the equipment doing to presentation.  The recordings themselves (performance, mixing, mastering, media, etc) also are super important.

 

Since most of us are interested more in the 'performance', that is the 'music', the other factors that I mention are also important aspects that determine quality (assuming that the performance is the 'ultimate' quality.)

 

Consumers have so little actual control over 'mixing' -- which is almost part of the performance, then there are still two aspects that the consumer can improve A LITTLE.   This would be by choice of the media -- Redbook, vinyl, 192/24, DSD, etc.  Also, there are differences in mastering (e.g. different releases of almost the same title in different countries can have different mastering.)

 

When it comes to difference in sound -- the most important aspects include 'room', 'speakers'.  Also, the other big differences are 'vinyl' vs 'analog tape' vs digital.  Also -- mastering makes a huge difference, often moreso than 192/24 vs 44.1/16.

 

In my world (however perverse) -- my priority of optimization is:  1) recording (as a package, that is media, music, mastering, etc), 2) speakers/room, 3) convienience, etc.   This is all assuming the high quality typically available today for things like amplifiers, etc.

 

Given essentially the almost 'Victrola' quality typically available for music of my own taste (1965-1990), the lowest hanging fruit is finding the better recordings.  Next, the audio transducer (speakers/room/headphones), then the rest.  Again, assuming the typically good quality equipment normally available today -- not something like an amplifier from 1970, TIM city, or Koss Pro4/A, type thing.

 

John

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"The recordings themselves (performance, mixing, mastering, media, etc) also are super important"... and a consumer can sometimes choose among different versions and formats.

 

I think the whole thing needs to be based on what a consumer can choose.  Loudspeakers are easy, room tmts. are pretty easy, new room is difficult, "versions" also difficult.


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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7 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

"The recordings themselves (performance, mixing, mastering, media, etc) also are super important"... and a consumer can sometimes choose among different versions and formats.

 

I think the whole thing needs to be based on what a consumer can choose.  Loudspeakers are easy, room tmts. are pretty easy, new room is difficult, "versions" also difficult.

Amps and DACs are really easy, and software literally takes just a click of the mouse. This explains a lot.

 

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11 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

"The recordings themselves (performance, mixing, mastering, media, etc) also are super important"... and a consumer can sometimes choose among different versions and formats.

 

I think the whole thing needs to be based on what a consumer can choose.  Loudspeakers are easy, room tmts. are pretty easy, new room is difficult, "versions" also difficult.

 

I would admit that it is a mega-difficult problem when there are no accurate reviews for the recordings, and the distributors can sell any poor quality that they want to sell.   People sometimes review poor 'listening' quality as good -- simply because there is no comparison anymore.   That means, the wonderful 'speakers', 'headphones', 'amplifiers', '$1000 wires' are not really able to provide the quality/accuracy than they should be able to provide.

 

John

 

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Speakers have more problems than any other aspect of a playback system.  Different speakers sound more different from each other than any other aspect of the playback system.

For #3, the recording chain, including choices made in mixing and mastering, are the most important factor(s).

On 6/27/2019 at 4:30 PM, mansr said:

A DAC is both analogue and digital.

Yes, and the analog section of a DAC is often the most important factor.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

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